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Side Effects of Alectinib and How to Use it

Alectinib is an anti-cancer medication. It belongs to the group of drug known as protein kinase inhibitors. It is prescribed by doctors for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (NSCLC) due to a defect in a gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase or ALK.

Alectinib is approved by the U.S FDA as a first-line treatment of positive non-small cell lung cancer since 2017. It works by blocking chemicals in the body that causes the cancer cells to grow and spread.  This medication is used when crizotinib treatment is unsuccessful.

How to use Alectinib?

Alectinib comes as a tablet form that you need to take by mouth. Your dose is based on the following:

  • Condition being treated
  • Body weight
  • Other medications
  • Other medical conditions

The recommended dose for an adult is 600mg divided into 4 doses. Take this medication twice a day or as directed by your physician. The maximum daily dose is 1200mg a day. Take it with a meal and plenty of water. Do not take more than what is prescribed. If you vomit at your first dose, take your next dose at the regular time. Do not stop taking this medication unless you are instructed to by your physician. To reduce nausea, your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medication.

What are the side effects of Alectinib?

Some of the side effects are:

  • Low red blood count
  • Constipation
  • Bone and muscle pain, weakness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Low blood calcium
  • Weakness
  • Increase creatinine level
  • High glucose level

Less common side effects are:

  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Vomiting
  • Back pain

Stop taking the medication if you will experience any of the following side effects:

  • Liver problems with signs like dark urine, jaundice and pain in the upper right side of the stomach area
  • Lung problem with signs like fever, cough, trouble breathing and shortness of breath.
  • Tear in the intestines and stomach with signs like fever, chill, stomach pain and change in bowel habit)

Important Information

  • Patients with a heart condition must use this medication with caution. This drug can cause a very low heart rate.
  • Some patients may experience gastrointestinal perforation
  • Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women must not take this drug.
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure.
  • Take plenty of fluids every day.
  • Get plenty of rest.